Time Inc.’s Norman Pearlstine Is Two-Timing His Readers

From our Late to the Party Pooper desk

For almost a year now, the hardtracking staff has been dutifully recording the Fall of the House of Luce, as Time Inc. leases out its editorial content to advertisers. The latest installment comes in this WWD Media People interview with Time Inc.’s chief content officer (read: stealth marketer) Norman Pearlstine.

Representative sample of Pearlstine’s approach to native advertising (read: ads in sheep’s clothing) in Time Inc. publications:

I think that the balancing act is that you would like to find appropriate ways to have editorial talent working with [head of corporate advertising Mark Ford] and his team to come up with content solutions for advertisers and, at the same time, you have to be obviously mindful of potential conflicts if you are not careful in how you structure these things. The Time Inc. Content Solutions model is one to follow in that it’s got some very experienced journalists working on those products but they don’t engage in magazines on editorial where they’d be covering the people that they are writing about.

Translation: Time Inc. journalists will have to produce marketing material about whatever they don’t cover.

Pearlstine engages in plenty of doublespeak like that throughout the WWD interview, which anyone who cares about editorial integrity should read in its entirety.

Least believable quote . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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When a Nation Forgets Its Own Clichés . . .

. . . well that’s just sad.

As you splendid readers might – or might not – recall, the hardworking staff has diligently recorded mangled phrases in the media over the past few years. All too often, what once were familiar American idioms have become, regrettably, unfamiliar.

Several recent examples:

• On NPR’s All Things Considered last month, a commentator noted that federal lawmakers were not “falling over their swords” to take responsibility about disclosure of Congressional trips paid for by interest groups.

Uh, you either fall on your sword or fall all over yourself, yes? Not to get technical about it.

• On a local public broadcast show last month, an observer noted that the Massachusetts legislature had “snubbed their noses” at a Supreme Court ruling about abortion clinic accessibility.

Actually, the lawmakers either snubbed the ruling or thumbed their noses at it. Not to get technical about it.

• In a Studio 360 piece about Richard Renaldi’s photos of strangers touching one another, one of the subjects he approached said, “I’m kind of shy, so it took me for a loop.”

Sorry, but it either took you by surprise or threw you for a loop. One.

But there’s hope yet for the idiom-impaired.

From Monday’s Wall Street Journal Bookshelf (by Barton Swaim):

All Worn Out

It’s Been Said Before

by Orin Hargraves

I’m inclined to listen to any politician who warns his listeners about the dangers of deficit spending—right up until he talks about “kicking the can down the road.” The use of that deplorable old cliché suggests to me that the speaker isn’t, in fact, interested in persuading anybody of anything, since he BN-EA846_bkrvcl_D_20140810135420can’t be bothered to express himself on the issue without relying on a worn-out phrase that he’s heard a thousand times before. And anyway, why should kicking a can down a road signify putting off financial obligations? Will I have to pick the can up later? Can I not just leave it lying in the road?

Although Orin Hargraves doesn’t discuss kicking the can in “It’s Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Cliché,” it must be one of the few he’s missed. The book is an incisive and engaging catalog of stock phrases, organized into grammatical categories and listed alphabetically.

The book is not a dictionary of clichés, Swaim adds, but rather “a tour of the language at its most tired and tawdry: from the seemingly innocuous collocations ‘all and sundry’ and ‘by no means’ to the weird yet commonplace ‘kith and kin’ and ‘in high dudgeon’ to the culpably stupid ‘it goes without saying’ and ‘for all intents and purposes.'”

By all means, check it out.

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Dead Blogging ‘Over There!’ at the MFA

Well the Missus and I trundled over to the Museum of Fine Arts the other day to catch a gallery talk about Over There! Posters from World War I and, say, it was swell.

Curator Patrick Murphy took us on a lively tour of the exhibit, described this way on the MFA’s website:

Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI, this exhibition features fifty wartime posters from the United States and Europe—including select examples from Britain, France, Germany, and Russia. Many of the works were used to encourage enlistment in the US Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Service, while others appeal to the American citizenry to buy war bonds, conserve food, support the Red Cross and other relief agencies, and maintain a strong work ethic on the home front. This exhibition is the first time since 1938 that many of these works will be on view, and marks the MFA’s first display of the newly acquired poster I Want You for U. S. Army (1917) by James Montgomery Flagg.

Said poster:


Its British antecedent:


All the posters, outside of the newly acquired I Want You for U.S. Army, were donated to the MFA in 1937 by John T. Spaulding. From an MFA press release:

Works on view in the exhibition are drawn primarily from the collection of John T. Spaulding, which was given to the Museum in 1937. Spaulding, along with his brother, was also responsible for much of the Museum’s world-famous collection of Japanese prints.

But that’s not all.

Later this fall, Over There! Posters from World War I will coincide with the exhibition, Over Here: World War I Posters from Around the World at The Boston Athenæum (September 10, 2014–January 31, 2015), which includes over 50 posters from 10 countries.

Overjoyed to hear it.

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Hey, Jeff Bezos: Welcome to the Amazone!

For several months now, online giant Amazon has been leaning on publishing pygmy Hachette in order to exact more, well, tribute for its bookselling.

Improbably, Hachette has fought back, taking a hatchet to the Beast of Bezos.

From Deadline Hollywood:

Grisham, Stephen King And 900+ Authors Assail Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Thuggery

More than 900 authors including heavyweights Stephen King and John Grisham lent their names to a Sunday New York Times ad decrying AmazonCEO Jeff Bezos for pressure tactics hurting writers published by Hachette.The Paris-based owner of Little, Brown, Grand Central, Hyperion and other publishers is locked in a very public pricing battle with the online retailer.While Amazon has repeatedly said it tries to bring consumers the lowest price, the writers pointed to thuggish tactics to delay shipping and convince its customers to read authors not published by those imprints.

The Times two-page (!) ad:


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The issue, in a nutshell:

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And etc.

Nuts-to-them graf:

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Random sampling of authors:

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For your convenience, the ad also includes Jeff Bezos’ email address: jeff@amazon.com.

Writers on!

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Sharkn-AD-o 2: SyFy Flexes in NYT

In the wake of the boffo debut of Sharknado 2 last week, SyFy ran this full-page ad in yesterday’s New York Times:


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Our favorite bit:


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Miley and Kimye, shark your hearts out.

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Legal Sea Foods: We’re No Chain, Gang

Legal Sea Foods, the local restaurant chain whose menu is largely as tasteless as its ad campaigns, is biting back with a new series of TV spots.

From Thursday’s New York Times:

Call It What You Like, but Not a Chain

WHITE CASTLE claims with pride that it is the first fast-food hamburger chain, and for good reason. It opened in 1921, just 15 years after Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” exposed horrific conditions in meat-processing plants. With its pure-sounding name, white interiors and fully viewable food preparation areas, White Castle helped restore America’s appetite for beef, promising consistency regardless of which location a customer Adco-master675visited.

But today chain ownership is sometimes viewed as a negative by food aficionados seeking one-of-a-kind food trucks and microbreweries, and locavores celebrating restaurants that use ingredients close to home.

Now Legal Sea Foods, which has about 35 locations, most in the Boston area, is railing against the term. Its chief executive, Roger Berkowitz, argues in a series of new commercials that its seafood restaurants should never be called a chain.

Representative samples:

Sorry – just as with Legal’s menu offerings, we’re once again left unsatisfied.

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Correction o’ the (Yester)Day (La Famiglia Cuomo Edition)

From Thursday’s New York Times Department of Corrections:


Because of an editing error, an article in some editions on Tuesday about the lowering of the speed limit on Broadway to 25 miles per hour misidentified the governor of New York, who is expected to sign legislation reducing the speed limit throughout the rest of New York City. The governor is Andrew M. Cuomo, of course — not Mario M. Cuomo, who is Andrew’s father and was the 52nd governor of New York, from 1983 to 1994.

Of course.

But still – ouch.

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John Silber Fights Again

Full Disclosure #1: The hardworking staff currently teaches at Boston University and does not have tenure.

Full Disclosure #2: The hardworking staff has fond memories of former BU czar John Silber.

Back in the day, we regularly collided with Dr. Silber on WCVB’s Five on Five (which, lamentably, seems to have fallen off the digital grid), where we routinely accused him of promoting, say, social engineering only to see him go from zero-to-high-dudgeon in roughly six seconds.

It was great fun.

In subsequent years, Dr. Silber was unfailingly gracious whenever we encountered him, which doesn’t mean squat to the many BU faculty he Terrier-ized during his reign, but that’s another post entirely.

This post is about his posthumous publication, Seeking the North Star, which New Criterion editor Roger Kimball reviewed in Monday’s Wall Street Journal.

Drive-‘em-nuts graf:

In his tonic foreword to “Seeking the North Star,” a wide-ranging selection of Silber’s speeches, Tom Wolfe notes that, at UnknownBU, Silber transformed “a moribund streetcar college into a major teaching and research institution,” building its endowment to some $430 million from $18 million. He stocked the faculty with world-class talent, including Nobel laureates Elie Wiesel, Derek Walcott, Saul Bellow and the physicist Sheldon Glashow. Unambiguous grounds for celebration, you might think, but that would be to neglect politically correct mediocrities such as historian Howard Zinn, who was for decades a fixture at BU and with whom Silber often clashed.


Drive-‘em-even-more-nuts graf:

Silber was often labeled “conservative.” In fact, and as he always insisted, he was a liberal of the old school. He believed in advancement according to merit, not quotas; colorblind justice; the disinterested pursuit of truth; and open debate, not ideological conformity. This commitment to what we might call classical liberalism—the liberalism of an Edmund Burke or John Stuart Mill —forms an important leitmotif of “Seeking the North Star.” It also explains why Silber was from the beginning on a collision course with the faux-liberalism, the illiberal liberalism, of contemporary academic culture. “No institution,” he writes sadly, “has contributed so extensively to the deracination and diminishment of our humanity as university faculties.”

Your rebuttal goes here.

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Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times (Ronald M. Firman Edition)

From our Late to the Party of One desk

As you splendid readers might – or might not – have noticed, the hardworking staff religiously records full-page ads in the New York Times paid for by above-average-means citizens.

The latest installment appeared in last Friday’s edition of the Times, compliments of one Ronald M. Firman of Miami, FL.

The Times ad:


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Money graf:


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But that’s not the only cause Firman is bankrolling. He also appears to have contributed over $2 million to an outfit called Values Are Vital, whose 2014 expenditures are detailed on Opensecrets.org.


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The Super PAC was formed back in January to torpedo a totally different GOP candidate – Trey Radel.

Via PoliticusUSA:

Nervous Republican Millionaires Form SuperPAC to Defeat Coke Snorting GOP Congressman

A pair of wealthy donors have pooled together a million dollars in seed money to form a super-PAC to target Florida GOP Congressman Trey Radel who was busted for cocaine possession trey-radel-cocaine-congressman-and-booze-001-485x323earlier this year. The Values are Vital super-PAC was formed by Anthony Farhat, the president of PGI Homes, a Southwest Florida home building corporation.

The super-PAC received initial funding from two wealthy donors. Ronald Firman, a Miami retiree, and Martin Burns, a Las Vegas attorney each contributed around half a million dollars to the PAC. Last month Values are Vital formed and they filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) today.

The PAC is trying to encourage Paige Kreegel to challenge Radel. Kreegel finished third in the Republican primary in 2012, behind Radel and Chauncey Goss.

But Radel resigned shortly thereafter. And despite the Values Are Vital cash, Paige Kreegel lost a big bucks special election in June to Curt Clawson. Time will tell if Firman’s investment in Middle East affairs bears more fruit.

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NYT Ad Dopeslaps NYT

From our Late to the Pot Party desk

This full-page ad opposing marijuana legalization appeared in Saturday’s New York Times:


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Unusually, it also criticized the Times coverage of the issue. (As you might recall, if you’re not too high, the Times has called for marijuana to be legalized.)

Kick-in-the-nuts graf:


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You can judge for yourself at GrassIsNotGreener, where a blog post talks about the ad.

Meanwhile, this full-page ad ran in yesterday’s Times:


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Just-say-nuts graf:


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You can judge for yourself at Leafly.

But forewarned is forearmed: As the ad says lower right, Leafly is a Privateer Holdings company, which sees Leafly as a “Yelp for marijuana” according to Geekwire.

This is gonna get very interesting, yo.

(Check out this Ad Age piece for an extended play-by-play.)

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